The Studio project has been running since July 2016 and the project partners have been slowly getting to know each other and find their place in the project. This is the second workshop which aimed at bringing together a larger group of new partners, interested locals and involve neighbourhood representatives. We wanted this workshop to function as a constructive environment where both the partners and the neighbourhood can discover possible opportunities and collaborations. While the objective is for the newcomers to discover the building, most activity will occur in the courtyard to allow more chances to collaborate, interact, and provide an inviting experience to interested locals.
The workshop, held on the 29th of April, was co-hosted by OSMOS and WAUW* and focused on the construction of furniture.
The objective of the workshop was to look at both activation of the building and connecting the project partners. While we wanted to engage with some higher level strategic stuff, we also wanted to show that despite a difficult first year, positive things were possible and achievable very quickly if we only got our hands dirty…
The event thus split into two groups – between the project partners (those either a space in the building or those joining the project) and visitors (neighbours, friends, family and interest groups). Both partners and visitors have very different interests in the project and we thus had very different objectives for them which we intended to explore through the workshop.
- Morning (10:00-13:00) – partners + visitors split into two groups.
- Lunch (13:00-14:00) – everyone together.
- Afternoon (14:00-17:00) – altogether in making.
The objective for the project partners was to focus on the collective mindset (challenges and opportunities), defining the partners own projects and how the partners would contribute the building as a whole. Firstly we took a tour through the building, exploring some of the spaces and how we each related to them and what we would do in the spaces. Secondly we sat down and used the vision dashboard to help define what each partner really was doing in the building. We found out a lot more about each other’s projects by being able to compare particular themes – such as who our audiences are or how we anticipated covering costs.
One of the biggest challenges for the building is how to open it to the public. If we open the doors too quickly, we may lose social control and any problems could quickly erode trust. On the other hand if the door is opened slowly, it could result in much greater relationships being built between the visitors and the building users. The concept of ‘creating’ is at the heart of the project and so we took to designing and making furniture that could be used in the space.
With a number of designers invited by WAUW, we quickly had a clever modular seating design using a combination of new and old wood, that could be easily stacked and used within the building. The building process was a lot of fun as the participants learnt how to use machines and build furniture. With people from French, Dutch and non-Belgian language groups, the furniture building process allowed easy dialogue.
A small detail with big impact – lunch was covered by Shudon and Euloge from Cultureghem*, a local community based organisation that focuses on the social benefits of the Abattoir complex about 10 minutes by foot from the Studio. Cultureghem, with the Kookmet kitchens, use fresh vegies from the Abattoir market and provide a donation based lunch run by volunteers, each Friday. This is the spirit we’d like to see in the Studio so it was an honour to have them involved.–
In addition to making furniture, we invited the partners and visitors to fill in STUDIO ____ cards (photo above) which helped prime their place in the project (see our full description on the exercise here).
We hope to run more of these workshops, maybe focusing on other materials and furniture. There is an almost 22,000sqm empty building, not to mention the large courtyard space.
This project was kindly supported by the King Baudouin Foundation*.